Student HELB loans To Be Raised to Ksh. 200,000 Annually
University students may soon start receiving more than five times what they get as loans from the Higher Education Loans Board, Helb, should a proposal by the Ministry of Education and the statutory body be passed.
A petition to increase HELB funding to a maximum allocation of Sh200,000 per year has been taken to the parliament by the principal secretary for University Education and Research in the Ministry of Education, Simon Nabukwesi, and the Helb chief executive officer, Charles Ringera.
Currently, students receive an average of Sh37,000 annually, an amount the PS and the CEO say is too little for students to pay school fees and cater for their upkeep given the rising economic demands.
Nabukwesi, however, said that the board is underfunded and therefore unable to adequately fund the students.
“Due to low funding, many students missed this year’s loans. Helb is currently giving the students an average rate of Sh37,000, which is not enough. We need more funding to enable Helb to raise the loan allocation to Sh200,000 per student annually,” said Mr Nabukwesi.
According to Mr Ringera, in the 2021/2022 financial year, Helb plans to finance a total of 74,438 first year university students against 128,073 students that were placed by Kenya Universities and Central Placement Services (Kuccps), leaving out a total 53,635 students under government sponsorship.
Ringera said this is attributed to the available budget for the year, and asked members of parliament to consider allocating more funding to the board.
“Helb understands the need to give funds to all the students who applied for the loans and has requested for an additional Sh4.9 billion to cover the deficit,” he said.
Mr Nabukwesi and Mr Ringera appeared before the Education Committee of the National Assembly two weeks ago, to explain why Helb is yet to release funding for the students joining universities and other institutions of higher learning for the 2021/2022 academic year.